Germany plans quarantine for air arrivals from outside EU – Funke media

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany plans to insist that airline passengers arriving from non-EU countries go into quarantine for 14 days to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, the Funke media group reported on Wednesday.

A decision could be taken by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “crisis cabinet” as soon as Thursday and would affect the country’s main airports such as Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin, the media group reported.

Until now, people arriving from countries badly hit by the virus, including Iran, South Korea, Egypt, Italy, France and the United States, have merely had to fill in a form, a situation that has triggered criticism.

However, government ministers now think that differentiating between countries makes little sense given the extent of the infection, Funke media reported, without citing sources.

There was no immediate comment from the government.

The government can make recommendations but quarantine questions are ultimately decided by the federal states.

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U.S. Senate bill to grant airlines bailout to weather coronavirus

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate will vote on Wednesday to give the U.S. aviation industry $58 billion in aid, half in the form of grants to cover some 750,000 employees’ paychecks, in a badly needed lifeline for an industry facing the worst travel downturn in history.

A draft text for a $2 trillion economic rescue deal seen by Reuters would offer passenger airlines $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans, cargo carriers another $8 billion in loans and grants, and contractors like caterers up to $3 billion in grants.

Republicans had fought what they called a give away to airlines, while unions said the cash was crucial to keep workers on the job.

“This is not a corporate bailout; it’s a rescue package for workers,” said Association of Flight Attendants Sara Nelson, who spearheaded the idea of direct payroll grants for employees ranging from janitorial staff and gate agents to mechanics and pilots.

Reuters reported Chao worked the phones late into the night talking to air carriers about what they needed to ensure they could maintain payrolls, a person briefed on call on Tuesday that lawmakers were nearing agreement on a deal for cash grants for payroll and other employee costs, after airlines made a last-minute effort to convince lawmakers they needed the cash to prevent furloughing tens of thousands of workers.

U.S. airline shares extended a Tuesday rally on hopes for cash relief and airlines could get cash assistance in as little as two weeks from passage.

Republican Senator Pat Toomey, whose party had proposed $58 billion in loans, said on Wednesday the grants were a key sticking point. He said Democrats insisted “we give away money to airlines and never get it back.”

In a win for labor, companies receiving funds cannot lay off employees before Sept. 30 or change collective bargaining agreements.

The draft bill has restrictions on stock buybacks, dividends and executive compensation, and allows the government to take equity, warrants or other compensation as part of the rescue package.

Airlines would also receive tax relief on fuel purchases and, in a move that will bring down passenger fares, a temporary suspension on ticket taxes.

As the coronavirus has spread around the world, travel demand has plummeted, with airlines drastically reducing flights and warning of more cuts to come.

Airlines keep canceling flights and slashing costs as demand falls. United Airlines (UAL.O) said Wednesday would now cut 52% of U.S. flights and overall capacity by 68%. On Tuesday, 279,018 people were screened at all U.S. airport checkpoints, down 87% over last year.

Airlines accepting loans may have to ensure certain air services in order to maintain health care and pharmaceutical supply chains, including to remote communities.

However, other consumer and environmental protections sought by many Democrats did not make it into the draft bill.

Airlines and unions won crucial support for the grants from U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who worked the phones late into the night, telling lawmakers and others in the administration she was concerned about the impact of job losses and a decline in the U.S. aviation sector on competition, people briefed on the matter said.

“Without grants, airlines may be forced to choose bankruptcy over federal loans, if loan conditions are too inflexible,” Chao warned in a memo seen by Reuters.

Airlines have argued that they are key to restarting the economy once the coronavirus outbreak subsides.

U.S. airports, whose concourses have been nearly empty, are set to receive $10 billion in grants in the draft text.

The government will also provide $25 billion in grants for U.S. transit systems and $1 billion for U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak, that have seen ridership fall dramatically as states ordered tens of millions of Americans to stay home and avoid non-essential travel.

Boeing Co (BA.N) could receive government loans under a $17 billion fund set aside for direct national security-related loans, Toomey said, adding that many companies could qualify. Boeing could also qualify under the broader $454 billion loan program.

“It is not meant to be exclusively for Boeing… You should not think of it as a Boeing allocation,” Toomey said.

Boeing had sought at least $60 billion in government loan guarantees for itself and the entire aerospace manufacturing sector. Boeing did not immediately comment on Wednesday.

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Liberal MP Kamal Khera, who was working as nurse, tests positive for COVID-19

Liberal MP Kamal Khera announced Wednesday that she has tested positive for COVID-19.

The member for Brampton-West, who is also a registered nurse, said she began experiencing flu-like symptoms Saturday night and immediately self-isolated. She found out she was positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Khera said she is still experiencing symptoms but is in “good spirits.”

“I know that many Canadians are in much worse circumstances,” she wrote.

Earlier this month, Khera wrote that she had registered to help ease nurse shortages amid the new coronavirus outbreak. She said she hoped it would help reduce wait times.

The news of her diagnosis prompted well-wishes from many of her colleagues, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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“Take care of yourself, Kamal. We’re all thinking of you — and hoping you get well soon,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

Khera is the first MP to test positive for the new coronavirus. Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne was tested for the virus last week after experiencing flu-like symptoms, but his tests were negative.

The prime minister himself has not been tested, however he is completing 14 days of self-isolation this week after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month.

There are currently nearly 3,000 cases of the illness in Canada, and 29 people have died while 185 have recovered.

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Child sexual abuse expected to rise amid COVID-19 pandemic, experts say

Alberta experts in child sexual abuse prevention are predicting an increase in incidents over the coming months.

COVID-19 forced the closure of the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch — a non-profit treatment centre near Edmonton for survivors of child sexual abuse. Staff members will continue therapies online and by phone for 25 children and teens who were staying at the facility, along with about 75 more families across Canada.

Clinical director Dr. Wanda Polzin is concerned about how the pandemic will affect all vulnerable children. Global News asked her what she feels we need to know.

The following interview has been edited for brevity.

Q: Why might children be more at risk for abuse during this time?

Q: Are there any warning signs that friends or even neighbours could watch for?

A: There are signs such as a child/teen speaking out about being harmed in some way (this should always be taken seriously), journalling/writing about negative experiences, changes in mental health (increased anxiety, depressed mood, increased behavioural acting out, sleep issues, etc.).

Although we need to socially distance ourselves, it is important that we come together and safely reach out within our immediate family circles as well as within our communities.

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Coronavirus: Growing concern over increase in curbside garbage, Okanagan landfill activity

The Campbell Mountain landfill near Penticton is a hive of activity.

A national stay-at-home order to curtail the spread of COVID-19 HAS prompted some to utilize their spare time to catch up on household cleaning.

But regional district officials are concerned too many people are making the trek to the landfill, potentially jeopardizing social distancing guidelines and putting staff at-risk.

WildSafe BC coordinator Zoe Kirk says it’s not just the influx of waste at the dump that has them worried.

With people now bulk buying, along with an increase in single-use containers at food outlets, the end result means more curbside garbage.

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“Our concern is that people are going to have an extraordinary amount of more garbage going out to the curb,” said Kirk, “and they may be following some unsafe practices.”

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Art Gallery of Peterborough seeks children’s art to salute heroes during coronavirus pandemic

The Art Gallery of Peterborough is inviting youth and families to submit artwork that shows appreciation of the “countless heroes” in Peterborough during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The gallery is asking children and their families to make and share artwork to thank their heroes. Submissions will be shared on the gallery’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

“At the Art Galley of Peterborough, we have many heroes but wanted to especially thank those who are working tirelessly to keep our community safe and healthy,” said the gallery’s director, Celeste Scopelites.

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“To all our first responders, medical professionals, city services and all the citizens of Peterborough who work to keep our shelves stocked and the community running — thank you.”

The submitted artwork can be a drawing, a painting or even a sculpture, as long as it is creative. The gallery says the heroes can be anyone, as long as the artist explains what makes them a hero in a brief description (maximum 150 words) with the submission.

“Join us as we share some love and show our appreciation for the many amazing people who make Peterborough such a wonderful community to live in,” said Scopelites.

Participants are asked to email pictures of their artwork to [email protected] or post them to their own Facebook or Instagram pages and tag @AGPtbo_ and #AGPtbo.

Do not mail any physical artwork to the gallery, which is currently closed. For more information, visit the gallery’s website.

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Cardi B takes down celebrities, Trump for coronavirus response in profanity-laden video

WARNING: This story contains explicit language.

Days after Cardi B took to Instagram to talk about a possible celebrity coronavirus conspiracy theory, the Bodak Yellow rapper returned to call out the inequalities among those who are permitted tests for COVID-19.

Cardi B posted the Instagram TV video to her page in which she wears a surgical mask to cover her face and sunglasses, captioning it, “I said what I said.”

“The coronavirus is very much real,” the 27-year-old rapper said.

Cardi B addressed the confusion and frustration that many people have towards the mixed messages around the novel coronavirus. She also spoke about U.S. President Donald Trump and celebrities who are getting tested for the illness with few to no symptoms.

“But If a celebrity is saying, ‘Hey listen, I don’t have no symptoms, I’m feeling good, I feel healthy, I don’t feel like nothing, but I went and got tested and I’m positive for the coronavirus,’ that causes confusion.

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Eligible Albertans can now apply for emergency COVID-19 isolation support

Albertans who have been forced to self-isolate due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have no other source of income can now apply for financial support from the province.

Last week, the Alberta government announced $50 million in financial support for self-isolating residents.

A one-time payment of $1,146 is available for those who meet the criteria. The temporary funds are part of the government’s COVID-19 response “to keep Albertans safe during this unprecedented global health crisis,” the province said in a media release.

On Wednesday, the province announced it is now taking emergency isolation support applications from working Albertans who are self-isolating or who are the sole caregivers for someone in self-isolation.

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Eligibility criteria

The province said working Alberta adults who have experienced total or significant loss of income as a result of having to self-isolate or care for a dependent who is self-isolating can apply for emergency isolation support payments if:

  • They have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • They are caring for a dependent who is self-isolating
  • They have otherwise been directed by health authorities to self-isolate
  • They are not receiving compensation from any other source

Once their eligibility has been confirmed, Albertans will be asked to create a verified MyAlberta Digital ID, which the government said is required to complete the application.

Information from the applicant’s driver’s licence or ID card will be used to confirm their identity, the province said.

Qualifying applicants will receive a one-time payment of $1,146 through Interac e-Transfer.

The payment is meant to bridge the gap between now and when the federal government plans to expand Employment Insurance benefits at the beginning of April.

Applications can be made online. Those who require assistance with the application can call the Service Alberta Contact Centre at 310-4455. The call centre is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Premier, health minister will update Newfoundlanders on COVID-19

With at least 35 cases of COVID-19 now in Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Dwight Ball is set to deliver another update on pandemic planning to residents this afternoon.

He’ll be joined in a press conference at 2:30 p.m. AST by Health Minister John Haggie and the chief medical officer of health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald.

The event will be livestreamed on the government’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

As of Sunday, there were four confirmed and 31 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the province, which remains under public health emergency. To date, 1,131 residents have been tested for the virus, 10,96 of whom obtained negative results.

Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited and two weeks of self-isolation is required both for domestic and international travellers entering Newfoundland and Labrador, with the exception of select essential services workers.

The province has suspended counter service in many its offices, established a help line for those in self-isolation, and created a public reporting form for those who wish to report concerns that someone isn’t following the COVID-19 rules.

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Priest streams sermon during coronavirus lockdown – forgets to turn off filters

A priest's livestream of a sermon during the coronavirus quarantine in Italy hilariously backfired when he completely forgot to turn off the video filters.

In the clip, the fully-robed priest steps back from the camera and says: “Buona sera [good evening].”

But a cartoon space helmet is then superimposed over his head, followed by moving dumbells, confetti and finally a pork pie hat and dark sunglasses.

The video quickly went viral, with more than 5million views in a single day on Twitter with many people saying the priest's mishap was the light relief they needed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He looks like Walter White actually,” joked one viewer of the funny clip in reference to villain's iconic dark glasses and hat look as drug kingpin "Heisenberg".

In agreement, a second person tweeted: “Walter White in the service.”

Meanwhile, other viewers said the look reminded them of the Blues Brothers and quoted the movie’s famous line “I’m on a mission from God”.

Others said it was the kindness of the priest that stuck with them, despite the amusing technology blunder.

A woman wrote: “I love this so much. I’m not a churchgoer, but I appreciate the effort they’re making for their congregation, despite the fact that they might be technically challenged.”

In a similar accident, a vicar in the UK filmed himself accidentally being set on fire after sitting too close to candles with making a video-sermon for his parishioners.

Public Health England said that, as of March 24, 8,077 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus and 422 patients with COVID-19 have died.

In Italy, there have been 63,927 confirmed cases of coronavirus with nearly 7,000 deaths.

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